Vanessa Dion Fletcher: Curiosity and Quillwork

Opening September 10, Vanessa Dion Fletcher's solo exhibition Curiosity and Quillwork demonstrates an appreciation for repetition and pattern-making using and diverging from traditional quillwork forms. The exhibition is a part of Vanessa's year-long residency at OCAD University. Curated by MFA Candidate Adrienne Huard. 

Vanessa Dion Fletcher: Curiosity and Quillwork

 Image: Shifting Focus, digital video, 10:00 minutes, colour, sound, no language, 2019
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 5:00pm to Friday, September 20, 2019 - 12:00am

Vanessa Dion Fletcher’s solo exhibition Curiosity and Quillwork demonstrates an appreciation for repetition and pattern-making using and diverging from traditional quillwork forms. As a mode of working through complicated limitations of colonial impacts, on language and limited access to traditional Indigenous knowledge. Dion Fletcher interacts with visual and creative means as a way of connecting to her ancestral relations and reclaiming her culture. The exhibition features three new works: Zigzag in twenty-nine parts (2019), a series of works on paper; Shifting Focus (2019), a microscopic digital video; and Advancing Colors (2019) a delicate installation of an ornate pattern that emulates the traditional practice of birch bark quillwork.

The exhibition and reception is supported by the City of Toronto’s Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnership Fund, the Ontario Arts Council - Conseil des arts de l'Ontario, Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University, the OCAD U Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers and the Delaney Family Foundation.

ASL Exhibition Blurb:



Tuesday September 10th from 5-7pm
ASL Interpretation provided.

Exhibition runs through Friday, September 20, 2019



Accessibility: The Ada Slaight Gallery is located on the second floor of OCAD University’s 100 McCaul Street location. Curiosity and Quillwork is located in in room 225 of the Ada Slaight Gallery. Enter through 100 McCaul Street’s main doors located on the west side of McCaul Street, there is a ramp and a flight of stairs to enter the building. Inside the lobby one can get to the second floor by going up the spiral stairwell or elevator to level 2. There are two sets elevators in the lobby. Only the two west-facing elevators (behind the elevators facing the main entrance) will go up to level 2. On level 2 make a right turn down the hallway. The exhibition will be located to the left. Service animals may accompany visitors at any time. Visit for hours of operation.

Public transportation & Parking: OCAD University’s 100 McCaul Street location is accessible by the TTC via the Dundas Street Streetcar. The closest accessible TTC station is St. Patrick. Paid street and underground parking is available around the University.

The exhibition includes work that can be touched, and ASL interpretation at the opening reception.

Questions? Contact Shellie Zhang,
416.977.6000 x3706



Vanessa Dion Fletcher graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance. She has exhibited across Canada and the US at spaces such as Art Mur in Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver, and the Satellite Art show Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre in Gatineau, Quebec, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape and Seneca College. Over 2019, Vanessa received support from the City of Toronto Indigenous partnerships fund to be Artist in residence at OCAD University.



Adrienne Huard is an Anishinaabekwe born in so-called Winnipeg and is currently based in Tkarón:to/Toronto. She is registered at Couchiching First Nations, Fort Frances, Ontario. After graduating in 2012 from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in photography, she decided to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in art history at Concordia University in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Huard graduated from Concordia in April 2018 and is currently attending OCAD University’s graduate-level Criticism and Curatorial Practice program.

Venue & Address: 
Ada Slaight Gallery Room 225, 100 McCaul St. OCAD University Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 1W1

New childrens’ book illustrated by OCAD U grad Chief Lady Bird

Chief Lady Bird (left) and Sunshine Tenaso (right). Courtesy: Scholastic Books.
Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 3:15pm

Indigenous artist and OCAD U alumna Chief Lady Bird has illustrated a new children’s book, Nibi's Water Song, about the importance of clean water. Chief Lady Bird completed her BFA in Drawing and Painting with a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University in 2015. Written by Sunshine Tenasco, the founder of Her Braids, an organization committed to advocating for clean drinking water in Indigenous communities, the book will be published by Scholastic Books in July 2019.

Nibi is the Anishinaabemowin word for water. In Nibi's Water Song, an Indigenous girl named Nibi can't find clean water to drink. In the book, with no luck from her tap, or the nearby river, Nibi heads to the next town and starts knocking on doors looking for a safe source of drinking water.

Chief Lady Bird is Chippewa and Potawatomi from Rama and Moose Deer Point First Nations. Her Anishinaabe name is Ogimaakwebnes, which means Chief Lady Bird.  A CBC interview with Chief Lady Bird and Sunshine Tenasco is available online.  

Culture Shifts Presents "Six Miles Deep"

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

National Canadian Film Day Screening

Culture Shifts presents Six Miles Deep

April 17, 2019

3:00pm – 5:00pm

OCAD University, room 258 (George Reid House), 100 McCaul St. Toronto

Screening followed by a Q&A with director Sara Roque


Six Miles Deep

2009, 43 min 22 s

On February 28, 2006, members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the People of the Longhouse) blockade a highway near Caledonia, Ontario to prevent a housing development on land that falls within their traditional territories.  
The ensuing confrontation makes national headlines for months. But less well known is the crucial role played by the clan mothers of the community – the traditional source of power in the Haudenosaunee Nation.
With grace and honour, they rally the community on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve – with a population of 20,000, the largest reserve in Canada.
It is the clan mothers who set the rules for conduct. And when the community's chiefs ask people to abandon the barricades, it is the clan mothers who over-rule them.

Six Miles Deep is an inspiring and compelling portrait of a group of women whose actions have led a cultural reawakening in their traditionally matriarchal community.


About the Director

Sara Roque is a creator, leader and activist who has worked on many arts and community arts initiatives and projects in Canada and abroad.  She is the former Indigenous Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council where she worked for ten years mentoring artists and building innovative programs, policies and protocols with Indigenous peoples in the province. She is a documentary filmmaker and co-founder of the O’Kaadenigan Weengashk Arts Collective (Peterborough) and The Good Medicine Collective (Toronto). Her education includes Indigenous Studies from Trent University and Dechinta Bush University’s summer program. Sara is a mixed blood Anishinaabekwe from Shebahonaning (colonially known as Killarney, Ontario) and currently residing in Toronto.

In partnership with Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD - CULTURE SHIFTS is a documentary series at OCAD University. Culture Shifts presents documentary media as a catalyst for critical discussions and community action for social change.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, room 258 (George Reid House), 100 McCaul St. Toronto
"Six Miles Deep" Ultramarine blue text and image of flags blowing in the wind on white background

Inuit Art Quarterly Profiles Edit-a-Thon

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
1 to 4 p.m.

Onsite Gallery
199 Richmond St. West


Join the Inuit Art Foundation, Onsite Gallery and Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 for an Inuit Art Quarterly Profiles Edit-a-Thon from 1pm – 4pm.

The Inuit Art Quarterly Profiles is the definitive online resource for artists, collectors, curators, gallerists and others to learn more about the diversity and talent of Inuit artists, working in all media. A free and publicly accessible platform produced by the Inuit Art Quarterly magazine, the IAQ Profiles features historical and contemporary artists from across Inuit Nunangat and southern Canada. Cataloguing artist exhibitions, publications, achievements and more, this unique resource is maintained by the Inuit Art Foundation but needs you to grow!

Join the IAF, Onsite Gallery and Indigenous Visual Culture staff on March 27 and contribute to this important resource! All public contributors from arts and culture professionals, to students, to those interested in Inuit art are welcome to help us create new entries or add to existing artist profiles. IAF staff will be available to assist artists in building their own profiles and provide tutorials to contributors.

Bring your own laptop please, or bring a friend and share resources! Wi-Fi is provided.

Register and access the database here:

About the Inuit Art Foundation

Onsite Gallery at OCAD University

Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University

Venue & Address: 
Onsite Gallery (199 Richmond St. West)
416-977-6000 x456
Inuit Artist Database Edit-a-Thon

Vanessa Dion Fletcher | Welcome Lunch & Artist Talk

Vanessa Dion Fletcher in her studio (left), Artwork right: Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Colonial Comfort, 2016 (right)
Monday, February 4, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

OCAD University is proud to announce an inaugural residency with artist Vanessa Dion Fletcher at the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion. Vanessa will complete an in-situ six-month Visiting Artist residency, which will be followed by a six-month post-residency to disseminate the results with their guidance and support. Funded by the City of Toronto’s Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnership Fund, the residency will be hosted by OCAD University’s Centre for Emerging Artists and Designer and the Indigenous Visual Culture program.

Indigenous vs. western capitalist models separate communal relationships; artists vs. students vs. teachers/scholars and create economic barriers and social hierarchies. This model is antithetical to Indigenous placemaking, economic, and creative expression. My residency time at OCAD U is an opportunity to interrupt and shift these Western institutional values, boundaries, and hierarchies embedded in the arts. I chose to partner with OCAD because decolonization is critical to OCAD University’s forward thinking, I will be able to create great alliances for social change/justice.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher



Monday, February 4th, 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers, Level 3, Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, 115 McCaul St.
Lunch catered by Nish Dish
Facebook Event

Vanessa’s residency will run from January 2019 to mid-June 2019. Her time with OCAD University will open with a welcome lunch and artist talk to take place at the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers. All are welcome.



Vanessa Dion Fletcher employs porcupine quills, Wampum belts, and menstrual blood to reveal the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. She links these ideas to personal experiences with language, fluency, and understanding. All of these themes are brought together in the context of her Potawatomi and Lenape ancestry, and her learning disability caused by a lack of short-term memory. Her work is held in the Indigenous Art Center Collection in Gatineau, Quebec, and Seneca College. In 2016, Dion Fletcher graduated from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago with an M.F.A in performance. She is the recipient of the 2017 Textile Museum of Canada Melissa Levin Emerging Artist Award.



OCAD University’s Rosalie Sharp Pavilion is the home of the Experiential Learning Centre. The building’s refurbishment is a milestone in the Creative City Campus project, boldly re-imagining the use of space to expand studio, digital and work-integrated-learning learning.

Located on level 3, the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers (CEAD) is OCADU’s Career Development office and Experiential Learning Program. The CEAD supports the early-career advancement of all OCAD U students and recent alumni. The Rosalie Sharp Pavilion is a wheelchair accessible space.



We encourage students and faculty to set up a time with Vanessa for mentorship, critique and conversation.

Please email Vanessa directly to set up a time.

Venue & Address: 
Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers Level 3, Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, 115 McCaul St, OCAD University

OCAD U’s INVC program hosts Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership meet-and-greet

Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School with participants. Photo by Martin Iskander.
Friday, November 9, 2018

OCAD U’s Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, formerly Delaney Chair, along with The Inuit Art Quarterly/Inuit Art Foundation (IAF), hosted a meet-and-greet with partners of the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project.

The project is a partnered research training initiative (PRTI) that will support Inuit students studying to become academics and cultural leaders working to build capacity for Inuit to work in the arts.

INVC/OCAD U and IAF are the Toronto partners in the project. Two Master of Arts Indigenous students from OCAD University  ̶  Emma Steen and Adrienne Huard  ̶  have been hired as research assistants for the project.

Led by a group of Inuit advisers, this project seeks to address the longstanding absence of Inuit leadership across the humanities by establishing a culturally, socially and geographically relevant PRTI to provide meaningful opportunities for education and advancement. Pilimmaksarniq/ Pijariuqsarniq are the Inuit societal values of developing skills and knowledge through "observation, mentoring, practice, and effort."

The meet-and-greet included all of the partners working on the research project and upper administration, deans, chairs and Indigenous faculty.

Participants at INVC meet-and-greet. Photo by Martin Iskander.

The Laxgiik Convocation Robe: Luke Parnell & Selected Prints by Working Title Press

Friday, October 26, 2018 - 5:00pm to Saturday, October 27, 2018 - 5:00pm

The Laxgiik Convocation Robe: Luke Parnell & Selected Prints by Working Title Press

Curated by Erica Crisobal

The Laxgiik Convocation Robe is an installation created in the style of a Northwest coast Indigenous Chilkat blanket. This project is capturing the spirit in which these prestigious blankets are given: the spirit of reciprocity. Prints will be sold and removed from the installation one by one; the Robe will be ever changing until the last print is sold. 

Proceeds will be donated to Printmaking, Publications, Sculpture/Installation & Indigenous Visual Culture programs at OCAD U. 

Ada Slaight Gallery, OCAD University

100 McCaul Street, 2nd floor

Opening: 5:00-9:00pm Friday, October 26

Artist talk: 6:00pm Friday, October 26

Ongoing performance and sale: Friday, October 26 5pm-9pm; Saturday, October 27th, Noon-5pm


Venue & Address: 
Ada Slaight Gallery, OCAD University 100 McCaul St. 2nd Floor
Right: "The Laxgiik Convocation Robe" black text on white background. Left: orange, yellow and pink Northwest coast style image

Free public screening of Angry Inuk

Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 3:15pm to 5:45pm

Indigenous Visual Culture and Culture Shifts present a free public screening of:


Angry Inuk

October 4, 2018

3:15 – 5:45pm

Room 190 (Auditorium) OCAD University

100 McCaul St. Toronto ON.


A program will follow.


In her award-winning documentary, Inuk director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril offers a close look at the critical role of seal hunting in the lives of Inuit, and its importance to their sustainable economies in face of the aggressive and negative impact international campaigns and ban against the seal hunt has on their lives.


Angry Inuk (2016) 1 h 22 min

Director: Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, is a producer and award-winning director, whose films include Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos (2010), Lumaaiuuq (2010) and The Embargo Project (2015).


OCAD’s Culture Shifts presents documentary media as a catalyst for critical discussions and community action for social change.


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Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, 100 McCaul St., Room 190 (Auditorium)
Poster for "Angry Inuk" film